I decided that my netbooks audio hardware was no longer up to the task of producing acceptable sound. Please not the entire netbook did cost me 200 euro’s, As some DAC’s tend to cost that much you can get an impression of the quality of the soundcard. (Humming of the hardrive is one of those, and that is with low-end in-ear headphones. After reading some stuff on the web and looking a some datasheets, I decided to look for a PCM2704 (by TI) based solution.
The nice people at TI did bother putting in DAC’s by Burr-Brown in this particular package so that could be a indication of more than avereage quality sound. Below some technical details of the chip (copy-past from the datasheet):
THD+N: 0.006% RL > 10 kΩ, (PCM2704/6), SPI (PCM2705/7), or on request. Self-Powered The PCM2704/5/6/7 employs SpAct™ architecture,
THD+N: 0.025% RL = 32 Ω TI’s unique system that recovers the audio clock from USB packet data. On-chip analog PLLs with SpAct enable playback with low clock jitter.
SNR = 98 dB
Dynamic Range: 98 dB
PO = 12 mW, RL = 32
So quite nice specs, especially for the kind of mony they charge for it.
So after my usual ebay search (wich I tend to do way too frequent), found a seller who sells a lot of audio parts. As frequent buyer of chinese stuff, I am way to familiar with the diversity in quality those salesmen offer, I choose this seller because of his 5star rating and perceived specialism in audio parts.
For a wopping $19.90,$1,50 more that the cheapest seller, I hope to get better elco’s on the final stage.
Now its a matter of waiting before the mailman can make (or break) my day with the delivery.
The headphone sounds very lovely, the mini-soundcard is also not an disappointment, although a more ‘complete’ sound than my cheap-ass nettop ac-97, it’s not a huge improvement in contrast to my other laptop. But it does grate as dedicate soundcard on my desktop, whenever I don’t use my speakers.
The combination of the MS-1’s with my sansa Clip+ (with the rockbox firmware) is by far a superior sound than the soundcard(s) I own.
However, there is one thing I should mention, as the design of the headphones is of the open-air. It is even on low volumes annoying for surrounding people. Therefore I cannot/don’t use is in public areas… which is too bad..